The Ongoing Battle for Abortion Rights
In recent years, access to safe, legal abortions has become increasingly challenged in many states, especially during the time of COVID-19. Since 2008, nearly 300 state-level restrictive laws have been passed in 33 states. Heartbeat bills, Waiting Period laws, and other targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP laws) are being drafted and proposed in a growing number of states. The legislation is primarily being passed in Southern states, specifically Arkansas, Texas, and Georgia. The legislation has predominately been passed in states controlled by white Evangelical men who have used their power and status to control women’s bodies. Under the Trump presidency, the number of anti-abortion bills introduced in states has increased with the promise of a Republican-leaning Supreme Court and a party catering to the will of white Evangelical men, the demographic most against abortion. Most importantly, these bills disproportionately affect poor women and women of color, including immigrants. With the reality that women are more likely than men to live in poverty and the fact that women of color have higher rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion, restricting access and funding to these clinics and procedures affects these groups of women the most. This section of the exhibit will look at specific types of anti-abortion legislation such as “Heartbeat” bills, Waiting Period laws, and TRAP laws and how they are affecting low-income women and women of color. The site will also look at how Republican governors in a number of states have used the COVID-19 pandemic to restrict access to abortion by claiming that it is not a time-sensitive medical procedure. It will also look at a specific case of how a TRAP law directly affected an abortion clinic and women who attempted to use the clinic.